EU Is Suing AstraZeneca Over Covid-19 Vaccine Shortfall

The AstraZeneca vaccine is administered at a hospital in Suresnes, near Paris.

Photo: benoit tessier/Reuters

The European Union is suing AstraZeneca PLC for failure to deliver on its Covid-19 vaccine contract, the bloc’s health commissioner said, the latest development in a long-simmering dispute between the two sides over vaccine supplies.

“Our priority is to ensure #Covid-19 vaccine deliveries take place,” Stella Kyriakides said on Twitter.

AstraZeneca said it regretted the European Commission’s decision to take legal action and was looking forward to working with the EU’s executive arm “to vaccinate as many people as possible.”

The commission said last week it was preparing a lawsuit against the U.K. pharmaceuticals giant. The commission and AstraZeneca have wrangled all year, since the company said it would be able to deliver only a fraction of the up to 400 million doses it was contracted to deliver by midyear.

A commission spokesman said Thursday that the EU was “keeping all our options open, including legal options.”

The EU lawsuit is being brought by the commission jointly with all 27 member states.

​Europe’s top drug regulator endorsed AstraZeneca’s vaccine after it was suspended in several countries over blood-clot concerns. WSJ explains what’s at stake for a shot that’s been widely used around the world and may soon be considered for emergency use in the U.S. Photo: Mykola Tys/SOPA Images (Video from 3/18/21)

Write to Daniel Michaels at daniel.michaels@wsj.com

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